Friday, March 28, 2008
Four Score: The Benefits of Independence
Here are a few extracts from an essay of mine on the benefits of European countries maintaining their sovereignty from the anti-war magazine, The American Conservative. I'm afraid the whole article is not available on line, but only on subsciption to the magazine (which I can heartily recommend, as it's always a great read).
‘THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY”. The favourite refrain of totalitarians throughout history is now uttered by the serial globalisers who insist that membership of sovereignty-sapping bodies such as the EU and NATO and are the only options for any self-respecting European country.
If you’ve not surrendered your national sovereignty, then you’re missing out. But is this really true?
Now, it might just be a freak coincidence, but the four countries in Europe who have best preserved their national sovereignty: Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Belarus-none of whom are in the EU and only two of whom are in NATO, are all doing quite
well. Much better in fact than European countries who have surrendered law-making powers.
Consider Switzerland, a country which gets a bad press from Europhiles for not wanting to join the EU, and from the serial warmongers for resolutely staying out of military conflicts. The demise of Switzerland has long been predicted. We were told that once it was forced to reduce its banking secrecy, there would be a big flow of capital and the Swiss Franc would lose its position as the world’s most secure currency. Moreover Switzerland’s high-wage economy would not be able to compete in the cut and thrust of the globalised economy. Poppycock. Switzerland stands at number six in the List of the world’s richest countries, above US, Japan and Britain. Uncompetitive? -The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness
Report currently ranks Switzerland's high-wage economy as the most competitive in the world. Growth is currently at around 3%, unemployment is only 3.3% (compared to the EU average of 7%). If Switzerland is suffering from staying out of the EU and the European Economic Area (EAA), then suffering has never been so comfortable......
Norway, like Switzerland, is thriving. In 2006, it officially became the richest country in the world, and it has reached its lofty position by doing exactly what the globalizers prescribe......
Switzerland, Belarus, Iceland and Norway all operate different economic systems. The Swiss operate a largely low tax, private enterprise economy. Iceland and Norway operate high tax, high spending welfare state models, while Belarus, in the words of its president, runs a 'socially orientated market economy'. But what all these models have in common is that they’re organic: they’ve developed in time, in accordance with national history, religion and traditions, and enjoy popular support.
By contrast, the EU is about imposing a one size- fits- all economic and social model, which takes little or no account of regional or national differences or the heritage of the countries it absorbs.
I suggested earlier that the success of the four countries might be a coincidence. Yet I don't think it is. This quartet of countries has been successful because they have managed to maintain crucial decision-making powers.
By keeping their independence, and continuing to thrive in spite of the globalizers' forecasts, they have demonstrated a truth that we should never forget.
There is ALWAYS another way.